Christmas tends to be a 100% family time in our house, so I don’t get time to escape and get some activating done. This year however, I fell for the job of Dad’s taxi, on a run up to Denbigh in North Wales in order to pick up my Daughter, her partner and her Mother-in-Law. They were to be picked up approximately 12:30 then returned to my QTH for Christmas dinner number two. Anne was hoping for a lie in after a hectic Christmas Day, so I told her I would get up quietly and “go for a walk” prior to my taxi job.
There are several summits near Denbigh, but the two I had in mind were Foel Goch GW/NW-039 which still owes me 3 points in winter bonus or Mwdwl-eithin GW/NW-047. I had “picked the brains” of Robert GW0PEB who had recently activated the latter and decided that five points were better than three.
I set off from Connah’s Quay on a beautiful blue skied, sunny morning and headed up to Mold. From there it’s a straight forward run along the A541 Mold – Denbigh Road, then out of Denbigh on the A543 towards Pentre Foelas. I have never enjoyed a morning drive so much, it was a stunning morning although the temperature was just 0c.
I had already decided to follow Richard G3CWI’s route which was the same advice offered by Robert. They said it was a stroll of about 40 minutes, so I allowed myself 1 hour, as it happened, I made it in 55 minutes with the mandatory few stops enroute “to admire the views” of course. I would advise anyone to use Richard’s well explained route to this summit, with one exception, don’t make the same mistake as me when you climb over the fence. The fence was icy and my foot slipped off the rail causing me to land with one leg either side of the top rail!! Two small lumps appeared, one behind each ear and I could have sung soprano for any choir for the following 30 minutes. The summit has a good shelter which was a Godsend because the wind had picked up significantly and it’s chill factor had sent the temperature very low. The views from this summit are some of the finest that I have experienced and is a rich reward for such an easy climb. I would strongly recommend this hill to those who haven’t activated it yet.
I had alerted for 7.032-cw only, knowing that it would have to be a quick activation, a big mistake because there was a contest in full flow on a packed solid 40m band, only 5 stations were worked on 40m-cw because of the severe QRM. Luckily, my short dipole has 30m availability, so the QSY was made to the majic band. A further 27 QSO’s were soon in the log, thanks to the much quieter 30m band, including a S2S contact with Aage LA1ENA on LA/TM-091, thanks Aage. I almost had Phil G4OBK as the only G station in the log, but unfortunately someone decided to “help” and QSP’d my report to Phil. This is the most annoying thing to happen, because I’m certain that Phil would have eventually got his report. I did try to tell Phil that I was sending a new RST to him, but Phil is a gentleman and strong ambassador for SOTA and declared it as a nil QSO. Sorry Phil.
The descent was slightly quicker, just 40 minutes and it was a relief to get out of my weather gear and into a still warmish car ready for the trip back into Denbigh, then home for dinner. On arrival at Denbigh, chaos ensued as the Denbigh hunt was setting out for the yearly Boxing Day hunt, an event which is watched by a crowd in the hundreds. As if that wasn’t enough, the start of the hunt is followed by a load of lunatics competing in a barrel rolling contest, from the top of the town to the bottom, approx three quarters of a mile down a steep hill. I gave both events a very wide berth and opted for the back streets.
What a terrific day out, followed with an equally superb 2nd Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, then a snooze in the armchair, the height of contentment. I will without doubt return to this summit for a multiband activation after 1st January for another 5 points and maybe take in another summit with it. Thanks to all who called in and to HA7UG and 2E0PXW for the spots and special thanks to Aage LA1ENA/P for the S2S.
Equipment – FT857 @ 25w, 7ah SLAB, 40/30m linked dipole @ 5 metres up at the centre.
Total QSOs = 32
40m-cw = 5
30m-cw = 27
S2S = 1
DXCCs = 13 – SP, OK, HB9, I, DL, OE, HA, S5, ON, F, LA, SM, EA